Post-spring Depth Chart Analysis

Rutgers released its post-spring practice depth chart Tuesday, and there were a few surprises on it and also some intriguing listings. But what does it all mean? ScarletReport.com goes inside the depth chart to break down what it all means, and why what appears to be the case on some backup roles may not be once game action begins.

More than a month after the Scarlet-White spring game, Rutgers released its depth chart Tuesday with few surprises, plenty left to interpretation but a one incredibly interesting move along the offensive line.

Art Forst, a starter at guard, is listed as the starting right tackle while Desmond Wynn, who missed spring practice because of shoulder surgery, is listed at right guard.

(Rutgers lists only OT and OG, but Forst did not play left tackle in the spring.)

Plenty can happen in training camp, but the listing of the 6-foot-8, 310-pound Forst at right tackle shows the Scarlet Knights want his length outside and the coaching staff believes he has the footwork and reach to keep defensive ends from getting around him and to quarterback Tom Savage.

Left tackle Desmond Stapleton, left guard Caleb Ruch, center Howard Barbieri, Wynn and Forst comprise the first unit.

There is a bit of intrigue across the offensive line's second unit, though, led by freshman guard Betim Bujari's exclusion from it.

After missing the beginning of training camp with an undisclosed injury, Bujari performed well and played with the first-team offense in the spring game. However, one of the reasons Bujari took significant snaps with the first unit was the number of injuries to other interior linemen, such as Wynn and red-shirt freshman Antwan Lowery (hand).

Lowery, who is explosive off the ball and physical, is behind Ruch at left guard while left tackle Devon Watkis, center David Osei, right guard Mo Lange and right tackle Matt McBride complete the second-team offensive line. Lange is the only member of the two-deep with experience.

But just because they are the listed backups does not mean they will be called into action in the event a starter gets injured. For instance, if Stapleton could not play, Wynn could move to left tackle. Also, Ruch may be best suited to backup Barbieri, Forst may be the best option behind Wynn, and vice versa.

The receivers came out as expected with Mark Harrison and Mohamed Sanu the starters with Quron Pratt and Tim Wright the backups.

Joe Martinek, who was the only healthy starting running back in the spring, is the starter followed by Kordell Young, who will be mostly utilized as a third-down back if his surgically repaired knee allows.

With De'Antwan Williams, Mason Robinson, Tyrone Putman and incoming freshmen Jawan Jamison and Casey Turn all competing for playing time, the running back competition has a long way to go before clarity is gained.

D.C. Jefferson will enter training camp as the first-team tight end after showing much-improved blocking skills, but Paul Carrezola is a close second.

Rutgers doesn't use the fullback much, but when it does senior Edmond Laryea will get the first crack as the 6-1, 220-pounder is listed ahead of red-shirt freshman Nick DePaola (6-0, 195) on the depth chart.

There was very little room for movement along the defensive line, and that is reflected in the listing of Alex Silvestro and Jonathan Freeny as the starting defensive ends and Charlie Noonan and Scott Vallone as the first-team defensive tackles. This is clearly the strength of what should be a very good defense, especially against the run, and the talent depth is evident in the listed backups of defensive ends Justin Francis and Sorie Bayoh and defensive tackles Andre Civil and Eric LeGrand.

Given Rutgers likes to rotate eight along the defensive front, all should see plenty of playing time.

The need for linebacker depth is evident not in the starters of Manny Abreu on the strong side, Steven Beauharnais in the middle and Antonio Lowery on the weakside, but rather Marvin Booker being listed as Abreu's backup.

Rutgers is solid with smart and fundamentally-sound Jim Dumont behind Beauharnais and the athletic Ka'Lial Glaud behind Lowery, but Booker being listed behind Abreu likely means the spot is up for grabs. Booker was a scout team member until suffering a torn ACL, and he was limited in the spring.

Again, though, like the offensive line, mix-and-matching could take place in the event of an injury with Beauharnais able to play multiple positions and Glaud also capable of playing in the middle.

The secondary is where the best defensive battle of fall camp should play out, but for now returning starter David Rowe and senior Brandon Bing are listed as the starters.

However, red-shirt freshman Logan Ryan, who combines speed, athleticism and poise, pushed Bing hard in the spring. Red-shirt sophomore Brandon Jones is listed as the other backup.

A pair of youngsters made the depth chart at safety with Khaseem Greene, a 6-1, 210-pounder who looks confident and comfortable, listed as the starter at free safety, lining up next to senior strong safety Joe Lefeged. Junior Patrick Kivlehan backs up Greene and sophomore Duron Harmon is behind Lefeged, but with a wealth of secondary talent in the freshman class, the competition should be tremendous within this unit.

The specialists played out exactly as anticipated, with punter Teddy Dellaganna unchallenged and San San Te out-performing walk-on Kyle Sullivan to remain the placekicker.

The only mildly intriguing aspect among the specialists is Carrezola listed ahead of Robert Jones as the long snapper, but that could change when recruited walk-on Rob Horrell arrives this summer since coach Greg Schiano does not like having a position player also serve as the long snapper.

Sanu is listed ahead of Robinson as the punt returner, and Lefeged and Bing are listed as the first-team kick returners, with Sanu and Harrison behind them.


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